I could not have been more wrong
CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Spring 2014
Home School: Providence College
I really wanted to live in a residencia when going abroad for a semester. I am a big fan of my alone time and I thought it would be an easy way to meet other Americans that were abroad. Luckily, my friend Alex convinced me to join a homestay with him and live with a family. I was reluctant at first because I thought it would be awkward living with strangers for a semester. When I received an email detailing my living assignment I had mixed feelings and even regretted my decision to live with a family. I could not have been more wrong.
From the moment I meet my host mother she has been much more than just a guardian. She is an actual mother to my roommate Alex and I. She immediately made us feel welcomed and comfortable in this very different world we now lived in. My host mom is an Argentine that moved to Spain several years ago with her two sons Alex and John (weird coincidence). She is an amazing cook. We have not had the same dish twice since arriving and it has been a little over a month. Every day she comes up with something new and exciting. For example, last night I ate rabbit for the first time in my life. I was not the biggest fan, but I love trying new foods. My host mother in the first few days I arrived in Barcelona dissipated all of my worries about living with strangers and has made my stay in Barcelona infinitely better.
My host mother is amazing and so is the neighborhood I live in. Our apartment is very very far from the average homestay in Barcelona. In fact, I believe we are the farthest away from the center of Barcelona. This may seem like an obstacle, but it is actually a blessing because I get to see things others do not. My neighborhood is supposedly made of many different kinds of immigrants from Latin America and other places in Spain. I would not know because here they really do not speak English (unlike most places in Barcelona where you kind find many people that speak English). The markets here are not Americanized the way most other markets are closer to the center of the city. They sell assortments of fish, meat, and spices that I have neither seen nor heard of in my entire life. This may seem scary to some, but it is really a lot of fun.
Every day I wake up and am reminded to not waste any of my time abroad because whatever I am thinking of that day is replaced by the wonder of being somewhere completely foreign. Not to mention we live very close to a beautiful range of mountains and on a clear day can see the Mediterranean Sea from the terrace in my homestay!